From: Demirjian, Karoun [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Monday, September 07, 2015 10:24 AM
To: Spector, Stephen I. EOP; Goodman, Meghan K. EOP
Subject: VPOTUS pool report #3 - speech
Motorcade arrived at site in Pittsburgh at 9:51am. A handful of people were gathered at the end of the motorcade route, and two of them were holding "but I'm 4 Bernie" signs. A whole big bunch (a few hundred) were crowded by the barricades at Liberty and 11th, which is where Biden's giving his speech. Many of them appeared to be wearing the bling of their unions: yellow hats for the United Steelworkers union, navy blue t-shirts for the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers. (Who endorsed Clinton last month.) Neon yellow t-shirts for the carpenters. There are probably others, but those are the ones I can see en masse.
Show got started with Leo Gerard from United Steelworkers -- at 9:55am. AFL-CIO prez Richard Trumka took the stage at 10:01am, saying: "Joe Biden and I are both products of this great state. He’s a friend, he’s a brother, he’s a great champion of working men and working women, and I gotta say, it’s an honor" to be with him/stand with him here today. Trumka also said this of the labor movement in America, that it's: "The most powerful movement on the face of the earth" and that "We’ll work together, we’ll stand together, we’ll register together, we’ll vote together and we’ll win together."
The not-so-subtle strains of a marching band kept puncturing the airspace while Gerard and Trumka spoke, but it seems someone got them to shush in time for Gerard's introduction of Biden.
Here's a snippet from Gerard's introduction: "We’re proud of our relationship with him when he was Sen biden...Our union is the first one that endorsed him when he ran his first term for senate, and from that time he has never ever let us down. He’s been a voice that isn’t afraid to stand up to power on behalf of working people."
Biden took the stage at 10:08. And donned a United Steel Workers cap before he started in with "my name's Joe Biden and I work for Leo Gerard." I believe that this is being broadcast somewhere, but I'll give you some snippets. On the whole, he spoke very little about any policy achievements/specifics of the Obama administration. The speech was more striking a tone of rah-rah appreciation for the labor movement.
"The only reason I’m standing here is back in '72 when I was 29 year old kid...I couldn’t get help anywhere...But I won, I won because of the steelworkers. We have an expression where I grew up, you go home with them that brung you to the dance."
Biden said this of Trumka: "He’d have your back no matter what. And I’ve had his back and he’s had mine."
And gave this tip of the hat to the labor unions: "You’re the only one that has the power to keep the barbarians from the gate, man."
And went on to give some stats. You've probably heard these. Productivity went up 73%, but wages only went up 9%… "Something's wrong, folks." One percent of America owns 40% of the wealth…"they're not bad people, here's the deal folks: it's set up that way."
"Did American workers get less productive? The fact of the matter is they got more productive," he added.
Biden then spoke about how people criticize him and Obama for wanting to send people to community college. And made the argument that if the USA eliminated tax breaks "to so-called trust fund babies…We could eliminate that tax cut and put everyone in community college who wanted to go."
He then ramped up for this finish:
"I’m hot, I acknowledged that, I’m mad, I’m angry."
And talked about how things have become worse for workers over time. "What's changed out there folks, and we can't let it stand. We can't let the changes taking place -- and they've creeped in over the last 20 years. I hope everyone in America has a chance to become a billionaire…the tax code's not fair, it's simply not fair."
"The level playing field doesn't exist."
And that we need "to make sure every parent can look their kid in the eye, say honey, it's going to be okay."
Also these bits:
"There wouldn't be a single basic right form a 40-hour week to sick leave, there wouldn't be a single basic right out there, were it not for anyone working, but for labor, you built the middle class, that's not an exaggeration. And as you've declined, the middle class has declined. So there's a simple correlation: We build labor, we build america. We build labor we build the middle class."
"Let me tell you about the middle class: It's not a number, it's a values set."
And he ended with a cheer: "Organize, organize, organize."
Remarks over at 10:19am. And three minutes later, once the crowd had dispersed, the loudspeakers started playing Stars and Stripes forever. I can no longer hear the marching band down the street.
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